Frist’s Aspire Health Secures $15 Million to Grow In-Home Palliative Care

Two years after its founding, home and outpatient-based palliative care provider Aspire Health appears set to make its next leap forward, having secured $15 million in Series C funding.

The investment round was led by Oak HC/FT, a venture growth-equity fund focused on health care information and financial technology. It brings the total raised by Aspire since its founding to $21.5 million.

“We are thrilled to partner with Oak HC/FT, which has one of the best track-records in the country at backing leading, high-growth health care companies,” Aspire Health CEO Brad Smith said Monday in a press release. “Their support will enable Aspire to invest in additional data analytics, IT infrastructure and growth into new markets.”

Providing home-based and outpatient palliative care, Nashville-based Aspire gained immediate attention from the health care community due to the identify of its co-founder: former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. The retired Republican leader now serves as chairman of the Aspire board.

Currently, Aspire operates 11 palliative care practices in 16 cities in seven states: Alabama, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. It focuses in particular on patients with complex care needs due to serious illnesses such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and advanced dementia.

“In most cities, there is often a significant gap between what home health can offer and what hospice can offer,” Smith told HHCN in an email. “Unlike home health, Aspire can provide ongoing support to patients even if they are not homebound and do not have a skilled need. Unlike hospice, Aspire’s patients do not have be in the last six months of life or give up treatments designed to combat their disease.”

Aspire assigns a care team to each patient, which may include a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse, social worker and chaplain. The care team’s aim is to work with the patient to achieve his or her goals, which may involve ensuring the provision of needed in-home services to prevent hospitalizations and manage symptoms.

An initial pilot reduced hospitalizations between 56% and 72%, according to Aspire.

In June 2014, Aspire announced that it had closed a Series B funding for an undisclosed sum.

Also at that time, Aspire described its plan for growth. It anticipated opening practices in new locations each quarter over a period of several years, driven by additional partnerships with payors such as Medicare Advantage, commercial and managed Medicaid plans, and health systems such as accountable care organizations.

Also on Monday, the company announced that Annie Lamont, managing partner at Oak HC/FT would join Aspire’s board of directors.

Written by Tim Mullaney